Welcome to the concluding discussion on the power of solitude and it’s benefits. If this is your first article in the series, please make sure you see the previous ones, so you can get the full detail of what we discussed throughout this month.
Now, a lot of people think that you must do what everyone else is doing and respond to the challenges of life the same way everyone else is responding. This is what Earl Nightingale, the late American speaker and author, refers to as “Following the Followers”. Earl Nightingale was a famous personality who dealt mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence.
Let me put it this way, “you don’t really need to be like another person”. You are good enough as an original individual, like yourself. The only thing you might need to do is to develop your qualities, improve yourself so you can better serve your interest and that of the community you live in. How can you do that? Well, let’s find out.
Make It Ok to Be Different
Perhaps, you might have just heard of that reflection for the very first time and that is ok. Now, listen to me, there is nothing selfish, awkward, or stupid to do things differently from the rest people around you.
Yes, it might sometimes make you appear selfish, awkward, or stupid, but that is only at the level of superficiality. But guess what, the reality of life is not based on superficiality. It’s much deeper than that. If you have to go alone sometimes, do not be afraid because this is the only time you will ever live, or experience your earthly pilgrimage. So, choose how you want to journey through this experience called life.
Really, life is an interesting adventure and the only way you are going to feel that is when you can choose your own destination irrespective of your peer pressure and the fear of getting isolated from your friends. However, the fundamental point is that you must know where you want to go.
I talked about this at length in one of my recent books, DISCOVER YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE, How to Live with Passion and Energy. You might consider checking it out.
Life Has No Master Plan
You see, in life, there is no master plan or predefined road to your destination. That is why living is an interesting experience because everyone needs to find his or her route and journey along with it, and in most of the cases, alone. The discomfort in this is that you are responsible for your decisions, and many people do not like that part of the bargain because they rather prefer to blame someone or something else for everything that is wrong in their lives.
Another thing that discourages people from going alone or according to their plans in life is that you can get lost sometimes. You know what? Don’t be afraid that you might be moving in the wrong direction. It happens to almost everyone who has ever done anything unique and meaningful in life, and that is what separates them from those who follow the followers.
When you realize that you are moving in the wrong direction, take responsibility, and change your direction to accomplish your plans. Of course, all these make more sense when you can define your personal journey as against fulfilling the wishes of other people and waiting for their confirmation, or worse still, following the followers without ever knowing why.
Imagine yourself meeting a group of friends who are crying and you too started to cry just like them. After a while, I was done on you that you might have made a mistake and then asked why they are crying. Think about that for a moment.
You see, life is not black and white, and do not allow anyone to deceive you about that. Consider the following reflections on How to Walk Alone Sometimes.
Living Is a Personal Journey, Get Used To It
This is not to say that you do not need other people to journey through your life. Absolutely no. We all need one another and that is a given. I even know of a beautiful quote that “Life It’s a Personal Journey. But it takes a community to get you through it.”
Now, before someone gets the whole argument misunderstood, let me quickly address this with some examples.
Before the preparations leading to the November 2008 US election, no one could have predicted that Barak Obama would become the 44th president of the United States. This is obviously thanks to the men and women in the different communities, African-Americans, and more who worked tiredness to get him elected and sustained in the White House until 2017.
While we can rightly credit the communities for the success, when it came for Obama to lead the nation, to stand in the podium, facing the people, keeping the sleepless night, he definitely bore his father’s name. The same is true for president JFK. What about Martin Luther King Jr.? The community surely supported him to get through, but when it came to leading the same communities, he needed to stand with his head high in the crowd.
When, for example, on April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray aimed and shot Martin Luther King Jr., he did not shoot a community but a man. That man was an individual even though the community supported him, and when he died, he died as an individual while the community continues to live on.
This is what we are here talking about. By nature, we are all part of the human group and the different communities, and to remain members of most human communities, we do not need to do anything special. But if we want to represent something substantial, we must come out from the group and stand alone in our names. This is the rule and it is simple.
It Needs the Courage to Stand Out From the Crowd
We cannot deny the fact that it needs the courage to stand alone in your name. Yes, it does. And in order to gain courage, you must find a way to face your fears because you will never overcome them by accident. What are these fears? You might ask.
Well, they are the unknown, the oblivion, the failures, the darkness, death, and fear itself. Many of us have had to deal with, at least, of these fears. Who hasn’t had the experience of the cold hand of death snatching a loved one, failed at something, or the fear of not making it?
These are not philosophies; they are our human experiences. And you know what? You need to overcome them, one at a time. These unknown and sometimes, unavoidable scenarios in life are equally essential in growing our level of courage and the true meaning of life.
You need courage when responding to the most challenging question to all human beings “who are you?” Frankly, there is nothing more important than responding to that question and alone. I mean discovering who you truly are and what you want out of your life. You need that courage.
No one should pretend about this. It’s difficult to start living a life of your own, that is why many people simply follow the crowd without a voice of their own. But what a sad way to live!
As you learned in this series, take advantage of solitude, that unique moment between you and your source, and regenerate yourself. Help yourself to be the light, so that those in the dark can see through you. And this is where we are going to end this month’s discussion on the power of solitude.
Continue to improve yourself and talk to you next time.
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